“You can run, you can hide
But you could never criticize my love,
You can leave me alone but you’ll be at home with my love,
And I won’t feel a thing so that I can bring you back to my love, My love”
I never realized how obsessed with Spotify I would become until I finally paid for Premium. I told myself, ‘I can deal with the ads, it’s not a big deal, I won’t pay for it’ – liar. This may, single-handedly, be the most financially correct decision I could have ever made in my entire life. It’s the only way I can drive in my car now. Sit, plug my phone in to charge, open Spotify, start a playlist. Unless I forget to start the playlist and then all of a sudden Spotify throws me in some “ Sam’s curated radio” which is a conglomerate mash of different genres all playing at completely wrong times and the story in my head has now completely lost any feeling or emotional tie to it. That’s what I always thought, of course, until an unfamiliar song had randomly popped up onto my feed. I had hardly even realized what I was listening to at first, but my entire body felt it.
The sweet, almost broken voice just pulled me through the pain of not being wanted. Of being dragged along by someone who doesn’t actually care about you until it’s too late. Starting soft and gentle, almost as if he was trying to comfort me or anyone else suffering through heartbreak, Smith’s calm acoustic and raspy voice led us into what can only be described as the most cathartic musical experience I have ever come to witness. The guitar slowly builds through the bridge until a belted–almost scream-like note cuts through the sound and we come to a final end chorus that is a release of every pent-up aggression that finally signals the moment to let go. When the song ended, I was entranced until I fully realized that I didn’t know the song. I swerved into a parking lot and tried to go back to find it. I tried to remember anything about it: the words, the song title, the artist, frantically searching, even Shazaming the melody to hope something got a hit. By some sheer act of God, I did find it. Entropy E.P. Marrick Smith. My Love.
I’m sure that Mr. Smith wasn’t thinking of me or my woes during the creation of this melody. I’m sure he wasn’t aware of the sheer anger and pain that I had felt hardly even a full year prior. Or maybe he had–or else the song’s poignancy may have been lost on me. The EP dropped in November of 2014 and seemed to be Marrick’s first introduction into the music industry with 4 studio-recorded songs and the final track was a recording of a live performance. This was his experimental album that, although didn’t have a lot of high production value, worked with strong percussive instrumentals and emotional tones. However, he started his musical journey in musical theater with his first production being in Fun Home Off-Broadway in 2013 and, most recently, having been in the first national tour of Dear Evan Hansen in 2021.
I wish I could say I have a knack for not getting my heart broken, but unfortunately that is just not the case. I’ve only ever been in two long term relationships: one I am still currently in and one that ended so dreadfully wrong that my entire world plummeted and went up in flames. Even today, I still smell smoke (we will get to her in a moment). But I’ve had smaller blips here and there–and Megan, she was one of them. She was different, so I thought. A high school junior in comparison to my senior status. We met at a party and then couldn’t stop texting each other for weeks. Weeks. Day in and day out. Anything you could possibly imagine. You thought about it? We talked about it. I loved it. I finally felt like someone actually wanted to hear what I had to say and made an effort to ask me for my opinion. (Take notes, people. This is the dream.)
So when we inevitably started dating, I was on Cloud 9.
“You’re afraid and unsure
You make me feel like a whore with my love, my love
And you push me aside and you laugh at my pride and my love, My love”
Until two weeks later when I got dumped over text. “I thought I was ready for a relationship, but I’m not.” The whole ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ rhetoric is in full swing here. And being the hormonal and angsty teenager that I was, I cried. Hard and for a very very extended period of time. There was something so isolating, so destructive and poisonous about being broken up with by someone you made a genuine connection with. Especially for a high school student who had no social life or means of escapism, it was a world-shattering event that I didn’t believe I’d recover from. (Spoiler alert: I would, in fact, recover from it.) Of course, I begged for her to take me back. To give me another chance. I thought we hadn’t really given it a fair shake because all I really wanted was to feel like it was possible for someone to love me without fear. It had nothing to do with her and our relationship. I just didn’t want to feel unloveable.
Some time before Megan there was Haley. Haley and I had been friends from freshman year and we essentially were a part of the same friend group. No matter what anyone tells you, even in the late 2010s, early 2020s, there are cliques in high school. There will be cliques in high school until everyone becomes as enlightened as the Buddha, which may not be for several millennia, so for now, don’t hold your breath. We dated for eight months. We’d text in secret given that our relationship was not quite seen as favorable. Italian Christian households are not the safest places to be out and proud pansexuals, but Haley didn’t mind. We’d go on dates together under the guise of hanging out. We’d lie and say we were with different people and it was nice. I felt safe. I was dating my best friend and nothing felt out of the ordinary. I trusted her with so much of myself. So many intimate and embarrassing moments that I knew were wrong at the time. But I was a kid and I didn’t know any better. No one could have prepared me to be this in love with someone that I’d give everything I had to them.
Until I couldn’t give them everything anymore. Eventually they grew tired of me and moved onto the next. We tried to remain friends but things were strained from then on. Fun fact, it is incredibly difficult to be friends with an ex after a breakup. All the tension and unspoken anger only made our true falling out later on even worse. The arguing, the bashing on social media, the threats of violence all eventually became too much on both sides and it was best we give up whatever emotional connection we had left. But I admit, as much as I want to play martyr, I still resent them. I hold a rage deep inside because at one point, I did love them. Deeply and truly. At one point I would’ve done anything for them and now all I have left in my heart is anger and disappointment.
“You know he doesn’t think you’re that special anymore.
He doesn’t dream of weddings on the shore.”
No one prepares you to lose someone you love so violently. In fact, I’m sure if they were reading this now, they would heavily disagree with everything I have said so far. To a point, they could be right. The thing with humans is that we are incredibly emotional creatures with warped senses of memory. The resentment and detachment that I think I feel now could just be a deep regret and–in part–a feeling of missing them. As silly as it was at our age, we talked about being with each other for a very long time. What we’d want to do for college and what our dream weddings or houses would look like. Yet, within the span of a year (truly a short amount of time in the grand scheme of human existence), I managed to shatter it. For both of us.
I shouldn’t be so upset, however. Life has a lot of things: pain, anguish, sympathy, joy, rage, melancholy. People you love come and go through your life and it’s hard to ever pinpoint who will have the lasting impact on you. But I needed this pain. I learned more about myself surviving this than I ever would have in a therapist’s office or a classroom. Without this pain, I likely would never have cared about this silly song that got lost in my curated Spotify playlist.
“In fact, he’s completely ceased to cry
I guess that’s what happens when you lie about your Love.”